Just in time for Thanksgiving, Thompson city council passed third reading of a Sunday shopping bylaw allowing 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. shopping an additional three hours in a 5-3 vote Monday night.
Anyone needing some last minute trimmings for their Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, Oct. 7 will be able to do so as early as 9 a.m. as the new bylaw is effective immediately.
Retail store owners will now have the option of being open three hours earlier on Sunday, having their doors open at 9 a.m., as opposed to noon.
City council has been split on the issue; the bylaw had originally been defeated on second reading during the summer.
Coun. Brad Evenson was absent from the meeting at which the bylaw was first defeated and brought it back to the table on Sept. 17 where it passed through first and second reading.
Evenson was once again vocal at the Oct. 1 meeting, stating that council would not be dictating to store owners when they had to be open, but rather giving them the option.
Evenson also spoke of his time living in Leaf Rapids and his experiences with the inconvenience of shorter shopping hours, while making note that in a survey conducted in Manitoba it was found that 40 per cent of all sales at grocery stores on Sunday were between 9 a.m. and noon. Sunday shopping at grocery stores in Manitoba before noon has only been legal for a little over two months since Aug. 1.
It was frustrating to bring your family here on the weekend, and wanting to get back home early because you had to work on Monday morning, but you didnt have that shopping option, said Evenson.
Deputy Mayor Dennis Fenske, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor Tim Johnston also voted in support of the bylaw, and put on his chair of public safety committee hat for his stance on the bylaw.
Ive spoken to people who travel here from outside the community, and the comments in general were that it would be nice to get home in daylight, so from a safety perspective thats why I am supporting it, said Fenske.
Voting in favour were Fenske, Evenson, Coun. Erin Hogan, Coun. Stella Locker, and Coun. Charlene Lafreniere; opposed were: Coun. Penny Byer, Coun. Judy Kolada, and Coun. Luke Robinson.